It was 49 years ago today (October 20th, 1973) that the Rolling Stones' “Angie” hit Number One. The track, which was the lead single from the band's chart-topping Goats Head Soup collection, marked their second Number One single of the 1970's — following 1971's “Brown Sugar.” The Stones would go on to top the Billboard Hot 100 only one more time in the decade when “Miss You” held down the top spot in 1978.
Over the years there have been conflicting stories about the inspiration of the tune, citing David Bowie's first wife Angela as the subject of “Angie,” with Keith Richards, who named the song, claiming that it was written for his longtime paramour and muse, the late-Anita Pallenberg.
During a recent interview with Mojo, Mick Jagger recalled the writing of “Angie”: “Keith was the prime writer of that one. I obviously wrote a lot of the melodies and lyrics, but the chorus and the music he wrote. Credit where it's due. . . It was just a name. Keith made it up.”
Back in 1973, while on tour Down Under, Mick Jagger was asked about how he and Keith Richards chose the subjects for the Rolling Stones' songs: “You just write about what you see and what you feel and that's what I do, y'know? So, I mean, most American lyric writers over the last five years all they've done is write about peace in Vietnam, y'know — so I wonder what they're gonna write about now, y'know? The traditional, sort of rock n' roll song or pop song is, like, just about women, y'know — or love. And that's a pretty good tradition, y'know?”
Despite co-writing some of the era's best love songs — back in '73, Keith Richard maintained he wanted nothing to do with sentimentality: “I don't see a lot to be sentimental about. I think sentimentalism is probably — it's probably a lucrative road to travel, but I don't get sentimental about things because it doesn't lead to clarity of thought or anything. I hate to get sentimental about too many things, y'know?”
The Rolling Stones' Goats Head Soup was released on August 31st, 1973 and went on to top the Billboard 200 album charts for a solid month.
The album, which had its basic tracks recorded in November and December 1972 in Kingston, Jamaica's Dynamic Sound Studio, featured two Top 20 hits — the chart-topping “Angie,” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker),” which peaked at Number 15.